{ the news }
An independent supporters' website dedicated to Mansfield Town FC
Archived News from February 2023

16th February 2023 22:08

English Football League - Sky Bet League Two
Mansfield Town 2 - 0 Gillingham
Clarke 21, Akins pen 35
Attendance: 6,937 (631 from Gillingham) (note this it is essentially tickets sold, including season tickets)

Date: 11 February 2023

Martin Shaw at the One Call Stadium, Field Mill

Mansfield Town beat Gillingham 2-0 at the One Call Stadium this afternoon to complete their second double of the season, following on from that over Doncaster in the previous home game. The Stags were good value for the win, with first half goals from Ollie Clarke and a penalty from Lucas Akins, along with plenty of near misses.

Remarkably it was Gillingham’s first visit to Mansfield for 27 years, after the two teams had been regular opponents from the early sixties to mid-nineties. When the two sides met at Priestfield earlier in the season, Gillingham were woeful, and they had looked like relegation certainties until a new owner took over, and they made some excellent signings in January, including Oli Hawkins and George Lapslie from Mansfield of course, along with the likes of Tom Nichols. They had won 3 of their last 4 games, with a draw at Swindon after leading 3-1 as the other result. So arriving at Mansfield, they looked like very tough opponents, but the Stags put in a fine performance to win the game.

The Stags went close to taking the lead when Riley Harbottle’s glancing header was heading for the top left corner of the net and Gillingham keeper Glenn Morris made a terrific save to tip it behind for a corner.

Mansfield took the lead after 21 minutes when Ollie Clarke played a one-two with Stephen Quinn on the right to create space for a shot from the edge of the area. Clarke struck his left-footed shot sweetly, it took the slightest of deflections off defender Shaun Williams and crashed into the net off the right post. From my position, in real time, I didn’t see that the shot took a deflection as it didn’t deviate in direction, but from the TV camera angle, the deflection is clear, as it lifted the ball slightly in its trajectory. I think the shot would most likely have gone in even without the slight deflection. A cracking goal from Clarke, so sweetly struck.

Clarke had a chance to double the lead when Quinn put in a great cross from the left, but he sent his free header well wide.

Mansfield did make it 2-0 after 35 minutes. Quinn played the ball inside from the left to Akins in the area with his back to goal. As the ball came in to Akins, Max Ehmer was holding his shirt. As Akins tried to turn, Ehmer continued to hold on to his shirt and simply didn’t let go. The referee then pointed to the spot. Had Ehmer only held on to Akins’ shirt for a short time, the referee would not have given a penalty I don’t think, but it was the fact that he continued holding on to it that would have made the referee’s mind up for him. Gillingham were upset with the award, but it was technically the correct decision from the referee. That said, many referees in League Two would not have given it and Gillingham will feel it was soft. It would surely have been a penalty under VAR, because of the length of time he was holding on to the shirt.
Akins took the penalty himself. He had missed from the spot, saved by the same keeper Morris when the two sides met at Priestfield. But Akins buried his kick into the bottom right corner here, and even though Morris dived the correct way, he couldn’t get to it.

It should have been 3-0 after 41 minutes when Elliott Hewitt put in a great cross from the right beyond the far post to Akins, who chested down perfectly into the path of Kieran Wallace, for a free shot, but Wallace blazed his shot over the bar. The Stags were all over Gillingham, and more great football two minutes later, as Quinn found Akins who fired straight at the keeper from 22 yards.

A one-sided first half, and the Stags could have been more than 2-0 ahead.

Into the second half, and Gills keeper Morris made another stunning save after 50 minutes. From Quinn’s corner from the left, Akins got in a powerful header that seemed destined for the roof of the net before Morris tipped it over with a wonderful flying save.

George Lapslie came as substitute for Gillingham after 56 minutes. And it was he who nearly got the visitors back into the game. After 73 minutes, Timothee Dieng crossed from the right, Lapslie got in between Alfie Kilgour and Clarke and headed towards the roof of the net from 6 yards, but Scott Flinders made a fantastic save to tip it over the bar. A goal then could have changed the game, and it was a key save from Flinders.

Both sides might have had a second half penalty. After 71 minutes, Nichols played inside to Lapslie who went down in the area under a challenge from Hewitt. The referee didn’t give a penalty. I think it should have been a penalty, albeit another soft one.
At the other end after 75 minutes, a free kick from the half way line into the area from Harbottle, was headed down by Jordan Bowery to Keillor-Dunn. Keillor-Dunn got to the ball first, going away from goal, and went down under a challenge from keeper Morris. It looked a penalty in real time from my position in the West Stand. From the video from the TV gantry, it’s impossible to tell if Morris made contact with Keillor-Dunn. The referee waved away the appeals for the penalty.

Flinders made another save, after 79 minutes, down by his near post from a shot from the edge of the area by Robbie McKenzie.

The excellent Clarke made a brilliant run to the edge of the box after 87 minutes but his shot was blocked.

Will Swan should have made it 3-0 after 90+3 minutes. Clarke nipped in to win the ball from Conor Masterson 35 yards from goal, and sent Swan away though on goal, but Swan fired straight at the keeper in a 1-on-1 from the edge of the box.

A comfortable and deserved 2-0 win for Mansfield in the end. Not much between the sides in the second half but Mansfield were much the better side in the first half, a point acknowledged by Gillingham boss Neil Harris who said after the game: “Mansfield handled us well and were better than us at both ends of the pitch in the first half which is where we've fallen short today.”

The Stags were good all over the pitch. Ollie Clarke was my man of the match with a dynamic display running all over Gillingham and scoring that fine goal. Alongside him in midfield, Quinn was also very good, as was Maris. Akins had a fine game up front, with Keillor-Dunn having a decent first start. The defence was very solid, with Harbottle, Kilgour and Perch looking like a good combination. Hewitt was terrific at right wing back getting up and down and putting in some good cross. Wallace was solid at left wing-back. And Flinders had yet another super game in goal, not too much to do, but when he was called upon he made a wonderful save from Lapslie’s header. Bowery replaced Wallace at left wing back after 74 minutes and immediately won an important header, to go with several others later on.

Gillingham didn’t get going today. But with the quality of players they have signed, I fully expect them to push up the table towards mid-table by the end of the season. I think Rochdale will surely go down, and will be joined probably by Hartlepool or possibly Crawley.

The returning Hawkins, Lapslie and MacDonald all received good applause from home fans, and each player reciprocated to the home fans.

The Stags remain in 6th place, 6 points behind 3rd placed Carlisle with a game in hand. The Stags travel to Carlisle on Tuesday night. If you can’t get to the game, you can buy a match pass to watch it with us on iFollow. On the subject of iFollow, apologies to listeners who were unable to get commentary today via the mansfieldtown.net/ifollow website due to a technical fault at the iFollow end.



Mansfield Town 2-0 Gillingham
O Clarke (21'minutes), Akins (35'minutes pen)
Quinn (21'minutes)

Match report supplied by PA Media.

Struggling Gillingham's mini revival was halted by a 2-0 defeat at promotion-chasing Mansfield.

Bringing in 10 new players last month coupled with three wins and a draw in four games had lifted Gills' hopes.

But two first-half strikes saw the home side to a comfortable victory.

Gillingham forced the early pace without really creating anything. Mansfield soon got a grip and took a 21st-minute lead. Stephen Quinn found Ollie Clarke on the right of the area and he drilled a stinging low finish off the inside of the near post.

After Glenn Morris had clawed a goalbound Riley Harbottle header from under the angle, it was 2-0 in the 35th minute.

Max Ehmer was penalised for holding Lucas Akins in the box and Akins punished him from the spot with a powerful penalty to the right beyond the dive of Morris.

Five minutes after the restart, Morris was at full stretch to keep out Akins' header from a Quinn corner.

Sub George Lapslie, who joined Gillingham from the Stags last month, almost halved the deficit after 73 minutes but Scott Flinders kept out his six-yard header with a brilliant reaction save.

Match Stats
Home Team Mansfield Away Team Gillingham
Possession Home 48% Away 52%
Shots Home 17 Away 8
Shots on Target Home 6 Away 3
Corners Home 5 Away 5
Fouls Home 12 Away 11


Mansfield Town halt in-form Gillingham’s impressive run with comfy home victory
chad.co.uk, By John Lomas, Sat 11 Feb 2023

Mansfield Town saw off revitalised Gillingham with two first half goals to secure a comfortable 2-0 home win this afternoon.

Big-spending Gills, who signed 10 new players in January, had won three and drawn one of their last four games with much-improved form as they try to claw out of the bottom two.

But Stags controlled most of today's game with skipper Ollie Clarke rightly winning man of the match, leading by example and finding the net

Mansfield weathered early Gillingham pressure before starting to dominate and go ahead on 21 minutes through a low finish by Clarke.


On 35 minutes Lucas Akins then won and put away a penalty kick to double the advantage.

The Gills ended the half on the front foot, but Timmy Dieng headed their best chance wide while Oli Hawkins had an on-target header saved.

Akins forced Glenn Morris into a great save on the restart while Scott Flinders pulled off a magnificent save to thwart George Lapslie on his return as Stags saw out the game in comfort.

Nigel Clough made three changes to the side that drew at Bradford last Saturday.

Riley Harbottle, George Maris and Davis Keillor-Dunn replaced Callum Johnson, Louis Reed and Rhys Oates, who were all injured in the first half at Valley Parade.

Of the two Stags who joined Gillingham last month, Oli Hawkins started the game with Lapslie among the subs.

Both were applauded by the home fans during the warm-up.

Also starting was another former Stag in Alex MacDonald.

Before kick off a minute's silence was held in respect for the huge loss of life in the Turkey/Syria earthquake this week.

Harbottle got in a good sliding challenge to halt an early Gills raid down the left.

Then Stags had to turn a dangerous long McKenzie throw away for a corner in the third minute, which was cleared.

Tutonda's run into the box on the left earned another flag kick soon after as the visitors made a powerful start.

Clarke, stretching, poked harmlessly over from Stags' first sight of goal after Wallace had crossed into the box.

Stags were starting to grow into the game and the visitors survived a scramble in front of goal after some good approach play.

On 16 minutes Keillor-Dunn almost broke through but his flicked hear post header went wide from Harbottle's cross.

Tutonda was booked on 19 minutes for a late challenge on Hewitt as he crossed from the right by-line.

From the free kick by Maris, Harbottle got his header on target but Morris was able to claw away from under the angle.

But the opener was not long in coming and on 21 minutes Quinn fed Clarke on the right and from the edge of the box he rifled a powerful low shot in off the inside of the near post.

Clarke was then well wide with a header from a left wing cross on 31 minutes.

But on 34 minutes Ehmer was adjudged to have held Akins in the box as he tried to turn him and was booked with a spot kick awarded.

Up stepped Akins on 35 minutes and buried a finish inside the right hand post, the keeper guessing correctly but unable to get there.

Kilgour almost added a third on 39 minutes but planted a firm header wide from Hewitt's right wing cross.

Then Hewitt sent another ball long to beyond the far post where Akins chested down and Wallace fired over first time.

On 43 minutes Quinn squared the ball to Akins whose shot was straight at Morris.

On 45 minutes the Gills came as close as they had all half as Williams sent the ball into the box and Dieng beat Kilgour to it but saw his header go wide.

There were jeers as MacDonald stabbed wildly over soon after.

In the third of three added minutes Flinders was behind a Hawkins header from MacDonald's corner as Stags went in two to the good.

On the restart Stags won a 50th minute corner which Quinn sent over and Akins met with a firm header that Morris had to save at full stretch.

On 56 minutes the visitors made a triple change with Lapslie among the new faces.

Soon after Wallace cleared a Nichols finish off the line but an offside flag was already up.

Keillor-Dunn was rightly booked on 62 minutes for halting a breakaway down the middle, Lapslie added for doing the same to Clarke six minutes later.

On 70 minutes Harbottle intercepted the ball on the edge of his own box and raced forward, with little support, choosing to go alone and fired over the bar from 20 yards.

Lapslie almost pulled one back on 73 minutes as he met Dieng's cross with a powerful header from six yards, but Flinders produced a great reaction save to deny him.

With 10 minutes to go Flinders was down to his right to keep out a low MacKenzie effort.

Maris was added to the book soon after for bringing down O'Brien.

Flinders was again in action to punch away a cross before O'Brien could reach it while Masterson got a block in on a low Swan shot at the other end.

In the fourth of five added minutes Clarke won the all and set up Swan, but Morris got down to deny Stags a third.

STAGS: Flinders, Hewitt, Harbottle, Kilgour, Perch, Wallace (Bowery 73), Maris (Boateng 83), Clarke, Quinn (O'Toole 83), Keillor-Dunn (Swan 79), Akins. SUBS NOT USED: Pym, Law, D. Johnson.

GILLINGHAM: Morris, Tutonda (Alexander 56), Ehmer, Williams (Abrahams 88), MacDonald (Lapslie 56), McKenzie (Wright 88), Jefferies (O'Brien 56), Nichols, Masterson, Hawkins, Dieng. SUB NOT USED: Turner.

REFEREE: Thomas Kirk.

ATTENDANCE: 6,937 (631 away).


Mansfield Town 2 Gillingham 0: Ollie Clarke and Lucas Akins on target as Gills beaten in League 2 clash
kentonline.co.uk, by Luke Cawdell, 11 February 2023

Gillingham’s good recent form was ended by Mansfield Town as they were well beaten on Saturday.

Mansfield captain Ollie Clarke put the home side ahead and Lucas Akins doubled their advantage from the penalty spot after Max Ehmer was harshly penalised.

Gillingham - with three wins from their previous four before the weekend - were unchanged from the team which beat Crawley Town in their last outing.

Recently transferred former Mansfield Town players were named to face their old team, Oli Hawkins upfront alongside Tom Nichols - seeing off the pre-match injury doubts - and George Lapslie named on the bench again.


This was Gills’ first visit to Field Mill in 27 years - winning 1-0 that day.

Mansfield’s opener looked on the cards as they were brighter than the Gills from the off and it was a thumping effort from Clarke midway through the half that put them ahead, his shot from just inside the box going in off the post.

It was 2-0 from the penalty spot with 35 minutes gone as Max Ehmer was adjudged to have fouled Akins in the box, referee Thomas Kirk pointing to the spot after the Gills defender had held the striker’s shirt. The Mansfield front-man took the spot-kick and fired past keeper Glenn Morris.

Mansfield were worthy of the lead and the Gills were in danger of conceding a third as the chances kept coming. Alfie Kilgour and Kieran Wallace put efforts wide of the mark.

Late in the half the Gills had a few half chances, as Timothee Dieng headed wide, Alex MacDonald put a shot well over the bar and Hawkins had a header held by home keeper Scott Flinders.

Morris pulled off a superb save to deny Akins early in the second half, tipping his header over the bar.

David Tutonda was riding his luck with the referee, cautioned early on for felling Elliott Hewitt and given a last warning with eight minutes of the second half played after another foul.

Lapslie was introduced against his former club for Alex MacDonald, as part of a triple change from the Gills with Alex O’Brien and Cheye Alexander also on - the latter for Tutonda.

Gillingham had big appeals for a penalty with 20 minutes left as Lapslie went down in the box but Mr Kirk was having none of it. Substitute Lapslie had a great chance to halve the deficit, meeting Dieng’s cross with his head, but goalkeeper Flinders turned the close-range effort over the bar.

It got a bit open late on as the Gills looked to get back into it but Mansfield held out to claim a league double over Harris’ men.

Gillingham: Morris, McKenzie (Wright 88mins), Tutonda (Alexander 56mins), Ehmer, Masterson, Williams (Abrahams 88mins), Dieng, Jefferies (O’Brien 56mins), MacDonald (Lapslie 56mins), Nichols, Hawkins. Sub not used: Turner.

Mansfield: Flinders, Hewitt, Harbottle, Kilgour, Perch, Wallace (Bowery 74mins), Maris (Boateng 85mins), Clarke, Quinn (O’Toole 85mins), Keillor-Dunn (Swan 79mins), Akins. Subs not used: Pym, Law, D Johnson.

Referee: Thomas Kirk

Attendance: 6,937



Latest | February 2023